Amon Simutowe receiving his certificate for his 3rd GM norm in 2007. Photo by Ben Schulte.
It has been two years since Zambia’s Amon Simutowe had earned his 3rd GM norm. After adding a couple more norms, he still had not reached the required 2500 rating barrier. Recently, he had eclipsed the 2500 barrier and his title was conferred by FIDE. Simutowe told The Chess Drum that he had actually fulfilled the 2500 rating requirement as early as 2001, but was unaware that the 2500 rating need not be posted in order fulfill the GM rating requirement.
This is a tremendous milestone for Africa and it may have an impact throughout the vast continent. While Simutowe was not the youngest African to earn the title, nor the first, he may potentially have more impact due to his accomplishing the task as a self-taught man from a humble background and few resources. Chess has taken Simutowe to approximately 40 countries and he has competed with the world’s best. His tenacity and determination to accomplish this take is only overshadowed by his ability to overcome so many obstacles.